Visitors walking through the Woodland Gardens in the area known as the Waterhouse Plantation will spot a lot of forestry activity. There are two projects under way in the next month or two.
First, you may see the clearance of large tracts of Rhododendron ponticum, the invasive species which is a bit of a thug in the gardens. It grows rapidly, overwhelms other plants, is toxic to wildlife, can spread sudden oak death, and is difficult to eradicate. It was introduced originally for its colourful flowers, but it is now an unwelcome feature because of its thuggery. The project which you will see is removing the plants down to their roots so that they will not regrow. This is part of a restoration of the Woodland Gardens which will see new vistas opened and will allow more favourable planting after the ground has recovered. The project is part funded by the Friends; we have provided £5000 towards the costs of the clearance in the current financial year.
The second project is the de-silting of Fishers Pond and the waterway leading to it. The embankments are being rebuilt and the pond will be improved to allow the wildlife within it to thrive. New planting will be installed along embankments. The Friends have offered to help fund this planting. The de-silting and remedial embankment work is funded through The Royal Parks’ Mission: Invertebrate programme. The observant visitor will spot two high level, solar-powered cameras attached high up to a couple of large trees. These cameras will record the developing project and the impact which the improvements have on the ecology of the pond and waterway.